One day in March, 1999, I was driving along a road north of Crosby, Texas, when I spotted this fellow at his roadside stand. I stopped and we howdied. His name is Pete Plaskett. Pete is a friendly fellow and he loves to talk. At the time, I reckoned him to be in his mid-60s. He said, “My wife tells me I’m gypsy because ever since she’s known me, I’ve been making crafts and selling stuff.” When I met him, Pete was retired. He used to work as a pipe-fitter at Brown & Root, an engineering firm. He told me, “I’m always buying and selling stuff. I used to buy knives at Walmart for $7 and sell them to fellows at work for $10. When I was a kid in Guthrie, Oklahoma, I caught rabbits and possums, and sold the skins. Must run in my family. My grandmother never bought a slice of bread in her life. She made everything herself. Only thing she ever bought was coffee, flour and sugar.”
A few minutes before I came by, Pete cut off a branch from a tree, about 18 inches long, with a Y prong at one end and twisted like a corkscrew in the middle. He told me that he was going to make a dream-catcher out of it, and right away I said that I would come by next weekend and buy it from him. He did, and I did. I kept that dream-catcher for years, until my dog got hold of it.
When I met him that day in 1999, Pete had been selling stuff at roadside stands for years. One day a lady came by and asked Pete if he would like to buy out her stock of kits and stuff for crafts. She had a station wagon full of stuff. $130, she said. Pete dug in his pockets and paid her on the spot, before she could change her mind. Telling me about it, Pete laughed about his good luck and said, “The old blind hog done found him an acorn.”